Saturday, March 29, 2014

WOF Off Season Tour 03/28/2014

With about two weeks to go before park opening day (April 12th), more updates at the park are approaching completed status, and there is a LOT of action going on in the park.  We were able to visit the park on Friday Afternoon with Rachael Murie and Wayne Meadows.  Later that evening we were joined by about a dozen ACE members for a behind the scenes look at Steelhawk.

First, as some have read my prior Wayne Meadows interview story a few updates. While many updates are happening this year, not everything that we had talked about in August will be happening this season.  For example the train unfortunately will not receive its (much needed) coat of paint and rehab.  Also the Voyager rehab which while there is some work occurring on the ride this off season, and probably more then the ride has seen in MANY years, its entire rehab will be spread over a few years.  With that being said many things are happening, so lets take a look.

So here we are at the entrance to the park... though we had been told originally that the plans to re-cover some of the midway had been scrapped due to the new Steel hawk (and costs associated with it), it appears, thankfully, that some of the entrance way has been re-covered with new asphalt.  There has been some confusion online since in the past, with every new season the park has re-sealed the existing asphalt, this is not the resealing, this is actually new asphalt.   It extends from the security Post 8 (approximately) to the Ranger station/Season Pass processing on the opposite side.

So inside the park we start with Scandinavia.  As some know a recent rant of ours has been the towers on the old Scandi Skees/Plaza gifts that were the only part of the building NOT repainted with its refurb a few years back, due to lights on the towers.  While we do not have a photo (thanks Jeff), the lights have been removed, and the towers are to be repainted.  From what Wayne told us, the lights will not be added back but there are plans to uplight the towers.  We will see.

 The old Copenhagen Nogginvear (if anyone remembers that), or more recently Just for Girls store has officially be retired as a store and is now storage.

 What's old is new again?  Some of us may remember Worlds of Fun TV, when the park installed tv's into several of the major ride queue lines, and played video loops to entertain those in line.  I barely remember it, and I'm 36... so yes its been awhile.  Cedar Fair is introducing (or in WOF's case re-introducing) in-queue tv programming. 

Don't scroll by this photo thinking nothing to see... As Wayne mentioned in his interview the goal with Voyager is to start from bottom (supports) up.  Many of these supports have been covered by a foot or two of mud for who knows how many years.  You can see the orange on the supports where the mud was sitting for years.  The point of what is going on here is to add retaining walls so that the supports can be properly inspected. 

 Prepping for trough painting, I wish I could make this scratch and sniff, you could smell the paint.

 Originally home to Beetle Bumps (kiddie ride relocated to Planet Snoopy), and for the last few years, Tibetan Treats.  This small kiosk will become a Coke Freestyle station.  For the few not familiar with this concept, guests can basically create their own soda from 100 different flavor options.   Also as an FYI, the kettle corn will not be returning to the park. 

 The Bamboozler station is receiving some work too.  Last year the paint on this station looked rather pathetic, it was peeling, rotting, basically not good.  The trim on this station has been renovated and you can see that work is continuing along the column bases which still have unpainted wood.

 Panda Express eating area is also receiving new concrete and new tables. 

 And here is Steelhawk up close and personal.  Though the work on Steelhawk has progressed surprisingly quickly (and MUCH faster then in previous years), it still has several weeks worth of work left, both for electrical, LED lighting and testing.  Basically this ride will not open to the public until it is well broken in, and 100% safe.  The park official line on opening day for Steelhawk is "late spring".  So please don't expect it to be open on April 12th.

 A closer view of the ride carriage and seats. 

 Here is the offending ladder.   This is the reason Worlds of Fun has Steelhawk and not Knott's Berry Farm.  This ladder is certifiable safe in 49 states, and dozens of other countries (including Canada).  California was the sole exception, they wanted an outside rung and also cage surrounding the ladder.  If you look at the photo below and see the same ladder in the photo (to the left of the opening), and then see the ride carriage, there is no way a ladder cage would have fit.  The entire ride would have had to have been redesigned.  Wayne and by default Cedar Fair's commitment to safety is 100%, they would not open a ride to the public that they would not put their family on in good conscious, and would not open a ride that could not safely be maintained.

 Wayne Meadows himself answering questions about Steelhawk for ACE members.

This photo rates rather high on the cringe worthy scale for Worlds of Fun fans... The pond around the "Henrietta" (the keel) is being filled in.  It will no longer have a lagoon, which while looking incredibly dismal these last few years, still its a sad reminder that the last remnant of Henrietta will disappear from the park...  From what I have heard there may be some sort of water feature/creek build in below the bridges.

 Another look at the Henrietta pond.

On a more positive note, Vittle Griddle looks nice with its new wood and paint job.

Last thing, as many know another of my more recent pet peeves, irritations has been Autobahn and its quite frankly, dismal status operating with only 6-7 cars.  We have been advised by Wayne that parts have been purchased from Majestic (bumper car manufacturer) to retrofit and get up to 17 total cars operating on the Autobahn cars.  I'm not sure if I should when or if this happens, I will be incredibly thrilled.  Well... atleast happy about Der Fender Bender... ahhh Autobahn.

Also to answer the question about the roof lines in Africa (galvanized steel on Congo Clearing/Gorilla Grill), they are to be painted, a green color.  Right now they have not be painted yet, the park is waiting for better weather.

So that's about it.  I really do like the improvements we are seeing in the park.  Do I wish more was happening this year? Of course.  However, the park as a whole is admitting to many problems that they are starting to correct, and they are starting to fix them.  This is a VAST improvement over the past.  I am still optimistic about the future, and it will most definitely be an interesting ride.

More photos from the March 28, 2014 visit to the park can be found on Facebook!

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